Remove race on ICs to promote S'pore identity

Shoppers at Orchard Road, on Dec 23, 2017.
Shoppers at Orchard Road, on Dec 23, 2017.PHOTO: ST FILE

Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam is correct in defending the country's social cohesion and protecting Singapore's racial and religious harmony.

There should be zero tolerance for anything that threatens social harmony here as we need to foster interracial cohesion and identify as Singaporean rather than by our race and religion.

One way to bring about a Singaporean identity is to first change the practice of specifying race on our identity cards.

Why is there the need to distinguish race when we are all Singaporeans? This is where the racial divide starts.

Only during the National Day period do we sing and chant "one people, one nation, one Singapore", but this does not help to shape the Singaporean identity.

The United States, for example, is a melting pot with far more nationalities from all over the world who have made the country their home, but there is no classification of race or religion on their identity cards.

The man in the street is likely to say, "I am an American", rather than state his race. The same attitude should be promoted here.

The Government needs to take this major step to create a Singapore identity so that we no longer call ourselves Chinese, Malay, Indian or Eurasian.

By removing the race component from our ICs, we can truly evolve into one people, one nation and one Singapore.

Kumar Pillay Thangavalu

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2019, with the headline 'Remove race on ICs to promote S'pore identity'. Print Edition | Subscribe